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Background Story

If we look at the scenario given by FAO in 2011, Rural women spend more time than urban women and men in reproductive and household work, including time spent obtaining water and fuel, caring for children and processing food. This is because of poor rural infrastructure and services as well as culturally assigned roles that severely limit women’s participation in employment opportunities.

The jobs of rural women who are employed tend to be shorter term, more precarious and less protected than those of rural men and urban people. The lack of flexible hours to accommodate family work combined with wage and job discrimination and limited representation of women in workers’ organizations are partly responsible for this scenario. It’s Humanity Foundation (IHF) has been working to provide quality education to underprivileged children in impoverished locations of Bangladesh since 2010. One of the major hurdles of the IHF education project was low student retention rate, which was less than 30%. After facing the challenge for two consecutive years, a research team was sent out for a community survey in order to identify the root cause of student drop out despite providing free education. The research findings were heart wrenching! Families send their children to daily labor work taking them out of schools. It was found out that families in those regions are solely dependent on men of the house who are the only earning members of the family. Due to conservative mindset and social stigma, women were not allowed to work outside home or earn. Therefore, as soon as their children become older than 8-10 years, they were sent to work for extra earning.

However, most of these women have extreme potential of earning through commercializing their handcrafted goods. Their long inherited crafting skills need a brush up of professional production. They lack the knowledge and capacity of commercialization. It was a demand of time to introduce a form of commercial production and creating merchandise for their handcrafts. So that, the mothers can earn and the children can retain and return to education. This is a necessity to address the gap of unemployment and informal job opportunities for women in order to empower communities. In 2014, IHF first initiated Protibha with the core mission of preventing forced child labor and student drop out among the children. At present, in 2022, Protibha is not anymore just an awareness program but a social enterprise, commercializing artisan-made products nation-wide.


The objective is to improve the livelihoods of rural women in the rural areas by developing the handicraft industry. The program is designed to increase income and employment opportunities for poor women in selected rural areas by improving productivity, diversification, and product quality while establishing efficient marketing services and facilities. Protibha facilitates the existing, mostly informal, handicraft centers in rural areas, improve quality and diversify the product, increase productivity and efficiency, and extend the centers’ memberships to include more poor families. The program also equips training centers and trainers to establish coordination in order to create technical, management, and marketing capacities among women.

Why Protibha?

To empower families nationwide through developing crafting skills and commercializing Bangladeshi artisan products globally.

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